From the CTO

11 June 2020

Spring is usually the time when the world starts awakening from the dark of winter, but that is not how it feels this particular year. And this end of year edition of the ITS Update is usually a time when we offer suggestions for summer — heads up on summer technology changes and suggestions of technologies to explore if summer is a time when you have more time to do so. We intend to provide that information, but first I need to address the moment before us. 

Like many, I feel anguish about the murder of George Floyd and the unrest in neighborhoods in Minneapolis and around the country. Information Technology is a notoriously white field and while I have taken a few steps to diversify my department, this moment has made me acutely aware that there is much more that I could do. 

In addition to following the lead of CEDI, I am committed to increasing my own awareness and reflecting on my own practices. And I will also be creating a task force of staff within ITS to identify steps that we can take to further diversity, equity and inclusion within ITS. 

We will most certainly be addressing our hiring practices. I have started reading about practices that have been proven to increase the diversity of a candidate pool. There are also services that can review job descriptions to see if they are coded in ways that discourage black, and other minority, candidates to apply. Other ideas that we have discussed over the past few days include evaluating our vendor selection to support minority-owned businesses whenever possible and to support our local community and young people of color who might be (or could become) interested in information technology.

We are also mindful of our role as educators and as mentors to over 100 student workers. The task force members and I will be reaching out to our students to learn about their experience of ITS and to get any suggestions they may have for our department. 

Finally, I want to acknowledge that this is a moment that calls for listening as a precursor, and indeed a companion, to action. I am listening. I am paying attention. And I will take steps to do my part. I will report back on this topic, and our actions, in the September edition of this newsletter. 

I hope you can have a restorative summer, and I look forward to seeing you in person as soon as possible. 

All my best,

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  • 2020-06-15 09:17:10
    Kristy Sybilrud

    Hi Janet, I would be happy to partner in any way I can to help diversify our applicant pools and hires. I am all for taking the time to build these applicant pipelines.

  • 2020-06-15 12:54:18
    Janet Scannell

    Thanks Kristy. We thought the anonymous resume review we did with the last search was worth the time. Building the applicant pools is important. I've been reading some interesting ideas. We'll talk more!